Humans are extremely clever in getting the most out of nature. But in order to get the best out of nature, one must respect nature.

Tar sands mining is destructive to the environment. In Canada, it has destroyed acres of forest, spread poison into the environment, made a scar that is visible from space and put at risk the lives and livelihood of several Native American communities.

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The wost product of tar sands mining is petroleum coke, or petcoke. It emits 53.6 percent more CO2 than ordinary coal. Since tar sands mining is a refinery process, this is not included in official estimates of CO2. The Keystone Pipeline will fuel five plants in the U.S. and will emit 13 percent more CO2 than State Department estimates.

Why would anyone want to mine tar sands? Because it's 25 percent cheaper than ordinary coal. This is the motive of those who put money above all other values. They are clever. But what they fail to understand is this is their planet too, and they will suffer the consequences along with everyone else. Yes, it's cheaper. But it's not worth it.

Leon Johnson

Salt Lake City